Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baby Fozzie's Dump Cake

I was home with a sick kid, who was holed up in the family room watching the newest Muppets movie. Kudos to Jason Segel for bringing this warm-hearted reboot into the new millennium. But he’ll probably not thank me for resurrecting this rather dark chapter in the Muppets’ history. Yes, I’m referring to the Baby Muppets craze of the mid-‘80s.
Baby Fozzie's Dump Cake, living up to its name.

In retrospect, this seems like even more of a desperate last-gasp than it did at the time. (Even more so than the Peanuts’ “Flash Beagle” record my brother and I loved so much circa 1983. Yes, Flash Beagle. As in, Flashdance, the movie. As in, Snoopy as a flash dancer. What a feeling indeed.)

At any rate, the infantilizing of characters continues today. Last I checked, the Baby Disney Princesses were still selling like wee hotcakes. So we can hardly blame the Muppets for trying to keep themselves current.

But, back to 1985, with a special “kids cookbook” insert to Woman’s Day magazine featuring the Baby Muppets’ gang.  My brother’s name is written in neon pink highlighter across the top, so I’m going to attribute this to him – also, in 1985, I’d like to think I was on to more sophisticated fare than the Muppets – Jem and the Holograms, perhaps.

Hot out of the oven ...
This recipe had a strike against it from the outset. I mean, usually when I hear the words “baby” and “dump” in the same sentence, dessert is not the first thing that comes to mind. But the fact that neither the better half nor I could say “Dump Cake” without cracking up meant I had to give it a whirl, leaving Baby Kermit’s Croona Tuna Melt and Baby Piggy’s Moi Mosa (ha!) for another day.

Baby Fozzie’s Dump Cake is fun and easy to make – as you would expect from a kids’ recipe. The baking soda and vinegar boil up nicely like a small volcano. Had she not been convalescing on the couch, my daughter could easily have helped make this.

... and ready for some frozen yogurt!
Another thing Baby Fozzie’s Dump Cake has going for it is the one-bowl prep and bake. It’s almost as easy as a box mix, and quite a bit healthier. I was surprised to see the addition of applesauce in place of some oil – I didn’t think that trend really caught on until the gummy ‘90s. The whole-wheat flour is welcome, too.

Therein lies a bit of the problem, however. Be it 1985, or 2012 this cake is a little on the bland side. Even the addition of raisins (if you like them!) and vanilla does little to liven it up, although the former does add a nice moistness. I helped it toward the realm of spice-cake with the addition of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves.

All-in-all, nobody’s going to request Baby Fozzie’s Dump Cake for their birthday. But when you need a fast, snacky cake that will make you laugh, this one’s your daddy.

Baby Fozzie's Dump Cake
Check the oven to make sure 1 shelf is in the middle. Turn on the oven to 350-degrees. Get out an 8-inch square baking pan. Measure out the following ingredients and dump them into the pan: 1 cup all purpose flour; 1 cup applesauce; 1/2 cup packed-down brown sugar; 1/4 cup raisins (only if you like them!); 1/3 cup vegetable oil; 1 large egg; 2 teaspoons cider vinegar; 1 teaspoon baking soda; and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix everything together with a fork or clean fingers. (Don't worry if the dough bubbles. That's what happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda.) When there are no more lumps, put the pan on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes. When the time is up, use potholders to put the pan on a cake rack. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it's dry when you pull it out, the cake is done. If there's some uncooked batter sticking to it, put the cake back into the oven for another 5 minutes. When done, turn off the oven; let the cake cool completely on the cake rack. Cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

·      I added ½ tsp. of ground cinnamon, and ¼ tsp. each of ground allspice, cloves and ginger. I love a spice cake and would take these higher next time.
·      The additional dump of vanilla frozen yogurt on top appealed to my kids. I think whipped cream or COOL WHIP would also be tasty.
·      I served this for dessert, but, thanks to the whole-wheat flour and applesauce, it would also work at breakfast or brunch.

Why Don’t You …
·      Add other dried fruits beyond the basic raisin? I’m currently in the midst of a love affair with dates , so that would be my next choice, but dried apples would highlight the applesauce, and there’s almost nothing that isn’t improved by a dried apricot.
·      Likewise, some crunchy chopped walnuts would work nicely here.
·      What about adding a streusel-like topping? It would only add a few minutes to your prep to mix together 2 T. softened butter, 2-3 T. packed brown sugar, and a few of those nuts we were talking about. Crumble the mixture on top, and you’ve dressed up your dump!
·      Play around with shredded carrots or zucchini to complement the applesauce and punch up the moistness.
·      Go rent the Muppets movie right now, on Blu Ray. It’s beautiful to look at and funny.  Perfect for the whole family!


  1. I use a dump cake (which is my hubby favorite thing I make), yellow box, crushed pineapple, sour cherries, sliced almonds, stick of butter and bake. Calls for coconut too but not this house. Apparently it can be eaten for breakfast as well.

    Oh, one more thing: Hubby ring tone is Manamma Na...I always know who it is and my son's name is Fozzy cause his jokes are wacka wacka.

  2. I love your dump cake suggestion. It sounds delicious and it would go over big time here (even the coconut). Do you melt the butter or work it in with a fork? Are the cherries frozen-thawed, or from a can? Please share!

  3. I'm with you that a new name could go a long way in updating this recipe. Baby and Dump do NOT go with Cake! You have my respect for simply being able to take a bite with that image in your head.

  4. Oh my daughter loves Jem and the Holograms! Bringing all the good stuff from the 80's back!

  5. It's truly outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!